An Essay Comparing Joshua and Jesus

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At first glance Joshua seems to just be a story of the Israelites and the settling of the Promised Land, however, there may also be a prophetic vision of God’s plan for Salvation of His people. The book of Joshua shows the difference between living a life, like Moses, under the Law of the Old Testament and under the freedom, which came from Jesus Christ, as Joshua did. One could certainly make a strong case that Joshua 1-6 can be looked at as a metaphor of Jesus Christ and man’s salvation through Him. The evidence ranges from Joshua’s name to the meaning of the Jordan River. The implications would mean that God was discretely showing the Israelites His plan for future salvation well over a thousand years before Christ.Joshua chapters 1-6 are a very exciting time for the ancient Israelites. They had escaped from their tyrannical Egyptian rulers under the leadership of Moses, finished wandering in the desert for 40 years, and were just beginning to start to inherit the land God promised them. However, as they near the boundary of the Promised Land, the Jordan River, Moses is not allowed to enter, and dies on Mount Nebo overlooking the land “flowing with milk and honey”. The newly anointed Joshua son of Nun will be the one to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.

For one to begin to see the importance of the comparison between Joshua and Jesus Christ, you must first look earlier in the book of Exodus when the Israelites were still living under an Egyptian rule. Their lives were filled with hard labor and bondage under their leaders. They were even forced to make bricks for the Pharaoh’s buildings without any straw for them and still meet the same quotas they had before (Exodus 5:6-14). They were a people without hope or direction in life seemingly doomed to an enslaved death. However, God did not forget His people and sent Moses as his messenger to bring them out of Egypt and free them from their hard yokes. When this was accomplished the Israelites were given a vague sense of direction to the Promised Land. The time before God’s law was a sinful and wicked place for the most part. God even had to wash the world clean of man with The Flood and start over again (Genesis 6-9). The bondage the Israelites endured in Egypt is analogous to life before the law. Without God’s law there was no direction for the people, one was free to decide what was right and wrong in one’s own eyes. The law gave man a sense of direction by setting down in stone the morals that people must follow. It is important to note that the Ten Commandments did solve the problem completely, but simply gave a general direction to follow, just as Moses gave a general direction to the people: out of Egypt. Another important similarity between the story of Joshua and the salvation of man is to take an in-depth look at Moses. Moses is commonly construed to be a symbol of the law of God (Crystalinks). After Moses leads the people out of Egypt and through the wilderness for 40 years, they arrive at the Jordan River about to enter into the Promised Land. However, Moses is not allowed to cross the river and lead his people to where God promised them. This is because he murdered a slave driver in Egypt and had to suffer the consequences for it. This is where the law falls short for man. The law simply points out sin and gives a general direction, it does not give a solution to rid oneself of it and be pure in God’s eyes. Romans 6:23 says that, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ out Lord”. Moses committed sin when he committed murder, and in the end he had to die instead of crossing into the Promised Land because of it.

After Moses dies, Joshua is officially the new leader of the Israelite people. Moses’ responsibility was to lead the people to the Promised Land, now it was Joshua’s responsibility to lead them into the Promised Land and settle it. Before this was possible however, the...
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